© 2002 Optical Society of America

Optics Express is 5 years old! Yes, with this issue, Optics Express has been publishing high-quality, peer-reviewed, all-electronic, multi-media rich, subscription-free research papers that cover the entire field of optical science and engineering for 5 complete years. Five years of operation is significant for almost any enterprise, but I think it is especially important for a scientific journal. Given 5 years of history, statistics, and trends, we should be able to judge the maturity, success, and future strength of the journal. So, what do the numbers say?

First of all, the journal has published 618 peer-reviewed articles, for a total of 5386 pages. 33% of those papers used multi-media in some form (and almost all at least used color figures) and there were 35 focus issues, covering an astounding range of topics, both theoretical and applied. Those topics ranged from Quantum Structures in nonlinear Optics and Atomic Physics to Signal Collection and Recovery, from Rydberg Wave Packets to Mid-IR Laser Materials, and from Tomographic Image Reconstruction to Digital Watermarking. The journal does, indeed, cover all of optical science and engineering.

What about our authors? Well, there were an amazing 1880 authors represented by the 618 papers published so far. Over 260 of them have two or mores papers in Optics Express. The journal certainly has an international reach, since 63% of the corresponding authors are from countries other than the United States.

And what about the actual mechanics of the publishing process? The statistics for this year, so far, are consistent with statistics from other volumes in other recent years: The time to publication, from first receipt of a manuscript to posting on the Web, is averaging 46 days. That’s 46 DAYS, not weeks. For the past 3 years Optics Express has consistently published peer-reviewed papers (with almost always 2 reviews per paper) in a phenomenal 46 to 48 days. There is no quicker way to get your work published in a peer-reviewed journal anywhere else in science, at least that I am aware of.

Finally, what about the acceptance of Optics Express by the science and engineering community? One huge indication of our positive acceptance is that Optics Express was ranked last year as one of the top 10 optical science journals by the ISI, a huge achievement for a journal so young. Optics Express is continually striving to increase the quality and impact of the work it publishes, and that is reflected in the steadily increasing percentage of papers that the journal rejects, a figure that now stands at about 30%. An indication of the acceptance of the journal by readers comes from the almost 3900 subscribers to the Table of Contents e-mail service for Optics Express.

So, what conclusions can we draw from the above data? I would say, based on the numbers, that Optics Express has reached a high level of quality and acceptance as a scientific journal, and that it has reached a solid level of strength and maturity. In addition, the numbers also indicate that Optics Express has been successful in bringing an all-electronic, multi-media capable journal to the field of optical science, some of the original reasons for its creation. And, even better, the trends so far all point to a future for Optics Express with increased scope and impact: more quality papers, more authors, and more readers. I can’t think of a better 5th birthday present!

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